Easter Eggs: Character Names, Lovely, Dark, and Deep

A couple of days ago, the penultimate episode, No. 7, of Lovely, Dark, and LovelyDarkAndDeepDeep released. I can’t believe the book’s serial run is almost done! You’ll be able to pick it up for $1.99 through next Tuesday, and then the whole book can be downloaded like a regular book for $3.99. The print edition is due out May 13.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share the background of some of the the names of the LDD characters. Read on to leave a comment and be entered for a $5 Amazon gift card!

I had already planned out some of the characters and their names—particularly Shane Burke and Gillian Campbell and the bad guy, Weston Flynn—long before I wrote the book. I knew Shane would have a sidekick, and that Gillian would have a niece and a sister. I knew Shane would have an uncle, and that they’d need someone up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to help them out. But none of those folks had names.

It was while I was working out the plot details of the book and getting my characters formed that my BFF Dianne’s beloved dog died suddenly. She’d had him since he was weaned, and he had a HUGE personality. It just so happened that my eldest dog’s name was Shane, and my friend’s dog was named Jagger. When I went through my harrowing two-month evacuation for Katrina, I camped out at her house, and Shane, a 25-pound fireball of a terrier, and Jagger, my friend’s behemoth of a black lab, became big buddies.

You see where this is going.

I hadn’t intentionally named the character of Shane Burke after my 15-year-old dog, but I did nickname his best friend Jagger after my canine friend. Then it began to snowball. Here are the stories behind some of the other characters of Lovely, Dark, and Deep:

* Harley, the owner of the bar of the same name, was my friend Stella’s beloved cocker spaniel.

* Charlie, Shane’s uncle, is named for my friend Lauri’s corgi mix. She lost him last year.

* Chevy and Cleo, the Nova Scotian couple who help Shane and Gillian on their quest, were two rescue greyhounds belonging to my friend Debbie. (Cleo and Shane, by the way, were NOT buddies.)

* Tank, Gillian’s dog, is named after my dog Tanker, a black chow-retriever mix who recently turned 14. His personality is very much like Gillian’s dog. Tanker likes me. He tolerates my friends and family. Everybody else? Dog food.

* Gillian’s niece, Holly, is Jagger’s feline “sister,” and Ricky, the harbormaster at Main-a-Dieu, Cape Breton, is Jagger’s canine “brother,” a Sheltie furball. Ricky’s wife, Keitha, was another much-loved dog for my BFF.

* Gillian’s sister, Gretchen, is named for my friend Nancy’s much-missed Rottie.

* Cleo McKnight’s maiden name was Huckaby, named after my friend Lora’s rambunctious chocolate Siamese, who also provides much material for Sebastian in the Sentinels series.

And there you have it! I usually come by my character names in other ways. They either come to me out of the blue—like Gillian Campbell—or I end up struggling with baby-name books, or use a family name.

Today’s $5 gift card to Amazon, BandN or Book Depo goes to a commenter who leaves the name of their favorite pet, past or present!

36 thoughts on “Easter Eggs: Character Names, Lovely, Dark, and Deep

  1. for me it made the book even more special and loving it a wonderful way to give some legacy to the ^pets we loved so much and even if they don’t know how they ccame to be i’m sure readers will love them even more reading the book

  2. Suz, Harley, who made me extremely happy for 13 years, and I are greatly honored. And what a great continuity … the characters all “went to the dogs” in the best possible way! When I read this one, “Harley” the character will be extra, extra special to me… Hope he has curly black hair! Thanks!

  3. I had a parakeet with a HUGE personality named Tweetie. I know, not very original but I was 6. He used to perch on Mom’s pen when she wrote letters. You could tell when he decided to visit her, her handwriting got shaky due to her hitchhiker. He’d sit on the side piece of Dad’s glasses, then bend over and peer at him through the lens. Funny, silly bird!
    I love the story behind the names, a great tribute 🙂

    • What a great mental image of Tweetie on the glasses! My brother had a parakeet when I was little named Sam, but I had watched the Hitchcock movie “The Birds” and was terrified of that parakeet! I wouldn’t go anywhere near him 🙂 Yeah, wimp.

  4. My Aunt gave me a poodle mix puppy for my 7th birthday. She wanted me to name him something French. He was black so of course I named him Blackie.

  5. I can’t wait to read the book! Knowing some of the “characters”, I can’t wait to see them in human form! Charlie and I thank you for making him even more of a character than he was in life! 🙂

  6. My first pet was a chicken named Moesje. I don’t know how I came up with the name though. And my favorite pet has to be our last dog: she was a very smart poodle mix named Pino.

  7. Our two dogs are named from literary characters. We adopted the world’s greatest dog while reading the Harry Potter books and meeting the house elf, Dobbie. Our dog Dobbie has the same tall, pointy, stand-up ears as his namesake. Howard is a 110 lb beast who we were told was a lab mix, but he turned out to be a Great Dane mix. My husband & I wanted to name him Roark but the kids protested. We patiently tried to explain that Howard Roark is the main character in “The Fountainhead” and for some reason they grabbed onto Howard rather than Roark as the perfect name. Rescue dogs are the best!

  8. Loved the way you named your characters after beloved pets. Makes them seem more real. When I was a kid, my parents adopted 2 cats from a great aunt not knowing one was pregant. What a thrill to have a litter of kittens as a child and momma kitty presented each kitten individually after they were born. I was about 8, so one kitten was Cinderella and the only male was Prince Charming.

  9. We had a beloved tuxedo kitty named Macey who died suddenly this past summer. It hit us hard, but it also allowed us to sign up to volunteer at our local animal shelter. We joined the foster program and then adopted one of our fosters because we loved him so much! His shelter name was Abbot, which we decided to keep since it didn’t bother us; we just added a hobbit surname of Underfoot because seriously, if he’s not napping on the couch, he is following you around and is constantly under-foot!

  10. I love that you named them all after beloved pets. My dog Gabby passed a few years ago and I miss her everyday. She was a Rottweiler but I think she was actually part pot belly pig.

  11. What a wonderful way to name your characters! Our pets are truly family members. My dog Sandy was a very lovable golden retriever mix.

  12. Love that their names are meaningful. It always adds more depth. We lost our first family pet Stitch early last year and it’s still hard but she lives on in our memories and thoughts.

  13. I think that is an awesome way to come up with names for Lovely, Dark, and Deep. What a way to remember all those much loved canine and feline companions. I had three wonderful kitties that have all passed on now, their names were Catalina, Charlie and Grace.

  14. We had an all black dog that dad named Satan. Quite the angel he was, but then aren’t all dogs?

  15. We have a tame stray cat that loves us and we named it Lady Grey because it behaves like a real lady and, well, it’s grey. 😀

  16. What a great way to name your characters! Good thing you know pet lover’s who give human-ish names! I think we’d all agree the story wouldn’t be the same if Gillian was called Bootsie… 🙂

    We have had many pets over the years, but digging deep in to my childhood, our first dog was a chinese pug named Dolly. My parents found her stray and loved her dearly for eleven years until cancer took her from us–no such thing as puppy chemo in 1986. Still, she produced one healthy litter and her daughter Princess brought us another ten years of pug-lovin’. Thanks for giving me cause to remember these fine ladies this morn.

  17. My favorite pet was a cat named Streak. He was the runt of a litter and stayed small. he was the sweetest cat and loved to cuddle.

  18. I love the namings but I most love that you are the first author i know of to use penultimate correctly. Sigh. I just relistened to a funny shifter novel whose author thinks atypical means very, very typical. Does no one use a dictionary? So three cheers for your grammar skills.
    Can we win a chance to have our dogs be characters? I lost my Black and Tan coonhound Sarge two years ago. . My vet said if he was human he was the guy you would love to take out to a bar for a beer and just enjoy hanging.